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Painter - Leonardo da Vinci
Part of a 1509 painting by Raphael, a contemporary of Leonardo's, portraying da Vinci as the philosopher Plato.

Painter - Leonardo da Vinci

Born on April the 15th 1452 in the Republic of Florence, Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci was a Renaissance painter, sculptor, inventor, architect, engineer, anatomist, mathematician and musician, amongst other talents.

Only a small number of Leonardo's paintings have come down to us, yet these few are complemented by his notebooks which contain sketches and drawings, scientific diagrams and his notes on the nature of painting. His illustration of the human proportions, Vitruvian Man is recognised around the world - as are his paintings The Last Supper and the Mona Lisa.

Leonardo studied art between the ages of 14 and 24, before his career began. He received his first commissions in 1478, before he moved to Milan, where he spent the next 17 years, broken by a brief stay in Hungary.

In 1499 war with France began and Leonardo fled Milan for Venice, where he was employed as a military architect and engineer, tasked with finding ways to defend the city from any naval attacks.

From 1513 -1516 Leonardo dwelt in the Vatican City where he was commissioned by the French King Francis I to make a technological marvel of its time - a mechanical lion which would walk and open its chest, revealing a cluster of lilies. In 1516 Leonardo entered Francis' service and went to live in the manor house Clos Lucén in the Loire Valley. Here he spent the remainder of his life and died on May the 2nd 1519. He was 67 years old.

For a closer look at the pictures, please click on them to enlarge.
1.
This unfinished work of 1481, Adoration of the Magi, is an oil painting, but not on canvas. Which material is it painted on?
Glass
Plaster
Wood
Stone
The painting is said to have been commissioned by Augustinian monks in Florence, but Leonardo departed for Milan one year after beginning the work, leaving it unfinished.
The background shows pagan symbols (such as a ruined temple) and the piece is thought to represent the Christian world overcoming that of the pagan
2.
Credited to Leonardo and "another artist" this piece, painted circa 1501. is entitled 'The Madonna of the...' what?
Cross
Spinner
Helicopter
Yarnwinder
Another picture with the same name, The Madonna of the Yarnwinder is also partly credited to Leonardo. It is very similar, although lighter in colour and with a river and mountains in the background. The two are differentiated by the titles,The Buccleuch Madonna (pictured) which is in the Scottish National Gallery, and The Lansdowne Madonna, part of a private collection in the USA
3.
Painted in the early part of the 1470s, The Annunciation is thought to be the oldest piece of work by Leonardo still in existence. Prior to 1869 the work was attributed to Leonardo's tutor, but what was his name?
Verrocchio
Donatello
Van Gogh
Michelangelo
Verrocchio was indeed a great painter and his works include the noted Baptism of Christ which was done with the assistance of Leonardo. The early works by some of his pupils can be hard to distinguish from those of their tutor, as was the case with The Annunciation before it was accepted as a Leonardo by the artistic experts of the 19th century
4.
Thought at various times to be a portrait of the composer Gaffurio, the monk da Pistoia, or even a self portrait of Leonardo da Vinci himself, what is the name of this painting?
Portrait of a Man
Portrait of a Holy Man
Portrait of a Musician
Portrait of an Artist
The title comes from the paper in the man's hands which is marked by some musical notes - though who the subject really is remains unknown.
The painting has been credited to Leonardo, yet some parts (the hat, tunic and hair) may be the work of a different artist. Some art historians also believe that the sheet of paper and the hand were later additions to the original piece
5.
This unfinished painting is thought to date from 1508. Called in Italian La Scapigliata, what is its English name?
Face in Mist
Head of a Woman
Face of a Girl
Head in Cloud
The painting is first mentioned in 1627 as being in the collection of the noble Gonzaga family. Since 1839 it has belonged to the Galleria nazionale di Parma in Italy
6.
Also known as Madonna with vase or Madonna with child, this piece is more commonly named after the flower which the virgin holds in her left hand. What type of flower is it?
A rose
A chrysanthemum
A rhododendron
A carnation
The Madonna of the Carnation was painted during the mid-late 1470s and the flower is thought to be a symbol of healing. Like The Annunciation, this piece was once thought to have been by Verrocchio, but is now accepted as a Leonardo. It can be found on display in the Alte Pinakothek gallery in Munich
7.
One of the world's most famous paintings, The Last Supper is a mural painted in which establishment?
The Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie, Milan
Church of the Gesù, Palermo
The Sistine Chapel, Vatican City
The Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, Pesaro
The work, situated inside the convent's rectory, was commissioned as part of renovations by Leonardo's patron Ludovico Sforza, the Duke of Milan. It is thought to date from the mid-late 1490s and depicts the moment when Jesus informed his disciples that one of them would betray him
8.
Completed around 1516, this is thought to be Leonardo's final painting. Which biblical figure does it represent?
King David
Mary Magdalene
John the Baptist
Delilah
Painted on walnut wood, St. John the Baptist shows the subject wearing pelts and the enigmatic smile also found in Leonardo's most famous work, Mona Lisa. This piece can be found on display in the Musée du Louvre in Paris
9.
This piece, painted on a walnut panel circa 1480, depicts which saint during his time spent as a hermit in the Syrian Desert?
Saint John the Baptist
Saint Jerome
Saint John the Divine
Saint Jude
Legend has it that Cardinal Fesch, the uncle of Napoleon Bonaparte, found a part of the panel being offered for sale as a table top in a Roman shop. Years later, he is said to have discovered another piece being used as a part of a shoemaker’s bench. Whether this account is true or not, Fesch repaired the panel and his descendants sold it to Pope Pius IX, who placed it in the Vatican Museums
10.
On display in the Louvre museum in Paris, this is perhaps the most famous painting in the whole world. What is its name?
Madonna
Mona Lisa
Mary
Magdalene
The painting, which dates to around 1505, is thought to be of Lisa Gherardini, the wife of Florentine silk merchant Francesco del Giocondo.
During its time spent on display to the public, the Mona Lisa has been at risk several times. It was stolen in 1911 before being recovered two years later. It also had acid thrown at it in 1956. Since then it has been protected by bullet proof glass which has saved it from more recent attacks - one involving red paint, and the other a teacup!

 

Author:  Graeme Haw

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